2012 HIV Stats: 'Know Your HIV Status'
Publish Date: 10/10/2013
Here at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation we have for over two decades been pioneering sexual health awareness among men who have sex with men and today we encourage more men to 'Know Your HIV Status' as new figures show an increase in those affected by HIV accessing treatment centres across north west England.
The latest HIV figures show men who have sex with men are still disproportionately affected by HIV in the north west but there are now more ways to test for HIV too.
The latest report from The Centre for Public Health,Liverpool John Moores University ‘HIV and AIDS in the North West of England 2012’ shows an increase in the number of HIV cases throughout the north west.
2012 saw a total of 7,329 HIV cases presenting to treatment centres in the North West, a 5% increase on the figure last year. The dominant mode of HIV exposure is sex between men (MSM) at 50% of new cases, followed by heterosexual sex representing 41% of new cases.
Rob Cookson, Director of Business Development for The Lesbian & Gay Foundation comments:"These latest figures tell us that men who have sex with men represent half of all individual cases of people accessing treatment in north west England. More men are accessing testing centres and want to know their own HIV status and it is vitally important that all agencies continue to promote HIV awareness amongst gay and bisexual men to make sure that they can be vigilant in prioritising their sexual health. It is important that men who test for HIV do so as soon as they feel it is appropriate and necessary.If they do test positive they can then seek treatment at an early stage of their infection to ensure that they benefit from the many effective treatment options available which are aimed at improving long term health."
In the year 2012/13, 30% of men who accessed HIV & STI testing services via The Lesbian & Gay Foundation's Rapid HIV Testing Service and Outreach clinics said that they had not tested for HIV in the previous 12 months.
Mr. Cookson adds : "The Lesbian & Gay Foundation is one of many community testing venues across the north west and we continue to see an increasing number of men accessing our same day HIV testing service which operates from our Community Resource Centre on Wednesday lunchtimes and our outreach clinics which take place every Tuesday at one of 3 locations in Manchester city centre . Later this month we will also be providing free HIV home sampling kits to men who have sex with men via a free postal scheme which is a partnership project between ourselves,RU Clear and The Manchester Centre for Sexual Health."
HIV in the North West
Across North West England the numbers of men who have sex with men testing positive for HIV last year varied compared to heterosexual cases.
Of those whose infection route was known, 61% of Lancashire’s and 58% of Cheshire’s HIV positive residents were infected through sex between men, compared with 42% of Merseyside’s HIV positive population.
At local authority level, the numbers infected through MSM range from 82% in Rossendale to 24% in Hyndburn while the numbers infected through heterosexual sex range from 73% in Barrow in Furness to 13% in Rossendale.
Greater Manchester had 89 individuals infected through injecting drug use which accounts for 70% of all residents of North West England infected through this route.
This report is now available online at: http://www.cph.org.uk/publications/